It’s been 365 days since President Trump transitioned from being a punch line to a reality. And what a cold, dense, never-ending year it’s been for many. In that time, while we've been stuffing ourselves with whatever media comfort food we need, the pop culture landscape has become a bleak, regressive place, in terms of both hard news and satirical critiques of these real-world calamities we've been presented with.
Here are 10 inescapable phenomena we can blame on Trump and every single failure and catastrophe — political and otherwise — that led to his victory. Shout-out to the longest year in modern history. Next year will probably be worse.
Great respect to @JohnMccain who put country over party.— Billy Crystal (@BillyCrystal) July 28, 2017
10. Liberal actors and comedians praising George W. Bush
Roughly 5 percent of entertainment news is now liberals rehabilitating the images of right-wing warmongers like McCain and George W. Bush. Fuck it — why not just start lionizing genocidal monsters like Kissinger? This is bleak and a sign that there is little hope for either major party. Or any of us.
9. A glut of ’80s nostalgia porn
The most dominant style of 2017 is 1984. From our music (synthwave or fashwave, anyone?) to our TV (The Americans, Stranger Things) to our films (the Blade Runner sequel, for instance), it seems everyone in town is looking back to the ’80s for comfort and solace, as if the ’80s weren't the beginning of the end of late capitalism and just as bad as right now. The pastiche dial is set to 11 and it'll probably be like that forever now.
8. Communist Russia jokes and references
So who's ready for at least three more years of hacky Russian accents and bits that are older than most of the audience members? If you're a fan of comedy, strap in for an endless torrent of jokes about Putin and Russia being "communist" allies with Trump, a symptom of people honestly believing Russia's interference swung the election. The stranger thing is probably that many millions of Americans think Russia has been communist for the last 30 years and not a free market–loving, capitalist country like our own pile of trash.
"Covfefe" is probably the world’s most famous typographical error. It's also boring and unfunny. There are many things to use against Trump to deride him, if that's your jam. But covfefe is weak as hell and represents our pop culture's collective inability to confront politics with any sort of nuance. We're doomed.
6. A resurgence in homophobic jokes from liberals
This unfortunate meme represents a huge comeback for brazenly homophobic jokes and also doubles as some more misguided covfefe nonsense. For some reason, many people think it's tight to imply that Putin and Trump are fucking because that would be shameful.
5. Pussy hats
Does anyone remember the Women’s March from last January? An estimated 4 million people hit the streets in major American cities and then vanished for the rest of the year (or went back to Facebook or whatever they were doing before the election). This is their accessory of choice and some people find it funny and/or provocative, further proof that we're all gonna die soon.
4. More Alec Baldwin
Alec Baldwin is going to win all the Emmys for playing Trump on SNL, isn’t he? He's going to be playing Trump until he dies, won't he? That's too bad, considering he's a garbage guy himself. We really need less Baldwins in our feed. His glib, hateful cocktail of condescension and hypocrisy seems more similar to Trump than any sort of satirical hero he's being made out to be.
3. More raving late-night TV Hosts
We have way too many Daily Show alumni and the like who want it both ways. They want to make "covfefe" and "Trump is gay" jokes but they also want to pretend they're progressive, even though those two things seem irreconcilable. Late-night TV is now crowded with Jordan Kleppers, Samantha Bees and people who think "Drumpf!" is a "game changer," and now Jimmy Kimmel is suddenly doing some performative woke routine (which there's no way he can keep up forever). Kimmel is getting record numbers, as are many of his peers. Our misery is good for business. Meanwhile, hosts like Bee are chasing ratings with absurdly bad gimmicks such as a têtê-à-têtê with Glenn Beck. That's a bad look.
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Trashing @verrit is a thing in the media cause trashing anything unabashedly supportive of Hillary's voters is standard operating procedure.— Peter Daou (@peterdaou) September 6, 2017
Does anyone remember Verrit, the world’s best accidental meme generator? If not, good for you. The concept was that it was some sort of combination of social media, Bitcoin and pull quotes conceived by noted fan of failure and former house maestro Peter Daou. Verrit was a great accidental laugh for the first 48 hours, and then it, like its benefactor, receded into the ether once the shock of how truly bizarre and childish this idea was wore off.
1. A deluge of posts of Mark Zuckerberg pretending to be human
Now that Trump has proven that literally any person could be president, make way for a parade of villains. The Facebook founder now thinks he has a chance, so he's maximizing his humanity quotient or whatever. If you thought the last 12 months sucked, holy fuck, are you in for something else in the lead-up to 2020. Time to divest from Facebook now, while a tiny sliver of hope theoretically remains. This is bad. Real bad.